Academics demanding peace face charges
The trials against Academics for Peace start this week.
The judicial oppression continues on the 1128 members of Academics for Peace who signed the petition titled “We will not be a party to this crime” in January 2016, demanding an end to human rights violations and armed conflicts in the Kurdish cities. It is over 150 signatories among 1128 academics against whom public prosecutor proposes 7.5 years imprisonment for charges of “terror propaganda”. The court cases start on December 5 in Istanbul and will continue until May 2018.
MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE
In the petition, the signatories reminded the social tension rising after the June 7 elections in 2015 and the human rights violations during the military operations in Sur district in Diyarbakır and Cizre in Şırnak and demanded peace be restored. President Tayyip Erdoğan targeted the signatories when the petition was made public. After that several signatories’ houses were raided; they were taken into custody and even arrested by the police. Furthermore, state universities opened investigations on many of them and private universities did not renew their contracts. 733 academics were questioned in March 2016 by İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Terror and Organised Crimes Office. After President Erdoğan’s speech broadening the definition of “terror and terrorist”, and targeting those who demanded peace, academics Esra Mungan, Meral Camcı, Kıvanç Ersoy and Muzaffer Kaya were arrested and jailed for 38 days.
NOAM CHOMSKY’S SOLIDARITY MESSAGE TO THE ACADEMICS
Noam Chomsky sent a solidarity message to the Academics for Peace:
"The penal case against the signers of the Academics for Peace petition is a shocking miscarriage of justice, which friends of the Turkish people can only view with dismay. The wording of the indictment, throughout, makes it clear that the case is an assault against fundamental rights of free expression that should be zealously safeguarded. To take only one example, the signers are accused of calling on the government “to lift the curfew, punish those who are responsible for human rights violations, and compensate those citizens who have experienced material and psychological damage.” These are entirely reasonable appeals, quite standard in free societies, and very natural and praiseworthy on the part of concerned citizens. Those who feel that the petition misrepresents facts have ample opportunity to respond in a civilized manner. There is nothing in the petition that supports terrorism in the slightest way. The tortured attempt of the prosecution to distort a principled appeal for peace and justice into support for terrorism should not be tolerated in a society that values freedom and basic human rights." (EVRENSEL DAILY)